Gun control issues have been at the forefront of political discussion after several mass shootings have taken place in the United States. One of the major concepts that must be addressed in the wake of current events is the need for universal background checks for individuals purchasing any gun, anywhere.
The controversy surrounding background checks has continued to persist issue in the U.S., because while “90% of the American public supports background checks for all gun sales, a dangerous and deadly loophole in federal gun laws still exempts unlicensed sellers from having to perform any background check whatsoever before selling a firearm,” according to Giffords Law Center.
It is essential that background checks become a regularity for all buyers, regardless of whether they purchase a gun in the public or private sector. Significant studies show decreases in the number of violent occurrences when thorough checks are implemented. For example, “expanding background checks could ‘have protective effects against lethal violence,’” and, “[the] permit-to-purchase laws in particular help curb murders and suicides,” according to NPR.
While popular opinion and research highlight how crucial background checks are for gun control, many individuals still refuse to recognize their ability to keep violence and gun-related deaths low.
The system has clearly been failing, as shown by the shooting in Texas on Sunday Nov. 5, when Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire and killed 26 individuals, according to NPR.
Kelley should not have been able to purchase a gun based on his previous history with mental illness and domestic violence. Air Force spokesperson, Anne Stefanek claimed, “Initial information indicates the fact that Kelley’s domestic violence offense was not entered into the National Criminal Information Center database by the Holloman Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations,” NPR reported.
This mistake and lack of accuracy draws attention to a general disregard for precision when inputting information and performing background checks, providing further reason to focus on gun safety protocols.
Many pro-gun advocates incorrectly claim that the Kelley shooting had nothing to with a greater need for universal background checks. “Before knowing almost anything about Sunday’s mass public shooting, gun control advocates are once again calling for more gun control,” Fox News reported. “One thing is certain: the proposals put forward by gun control advocates wouldn’t have stopped this attack.”
This is simply untrue; it must be taken into consideration that if there are already so many problems with background checks in stores, it is, and will continue to become easier for people to find loopholes to purchase guns without proper background checks.
Mass shootings cannot keep happening; our government needs to begin taking drastic action to improve background checks and protect U.S. citizens. Mandating and funding universal background checks are both imperative first steps and it should not take yet another tragedy for public officials to recognize this.